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Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018

Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018 – What Japan Airbnb Users Should Know & Do!

If you or someone you know is planning to travel to or within Japan over the next year and is planning to use Airbnb or other short-term rental platforms you need to know about the Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018.    On June 15th, 2018 all Airbnb listing without a registered license (issued by local gov offices) will be dropped from the Airbnb platform.  I am sharing the information below so that families traveling can be prepared. As an apartment owner and “on hold” Airbnb host I have received numerous questions from people who want to rent or have rented Airbnb this summer and fall.   Our Airbnb units are “on hold, not rentable” presently since we are in the license application process.  Since we own our small building and the units in the building we are optimistic that we will receive our Airbnb license (Minpaku license) by June 15th, 2018, but there are no guarantees. How to decide if staying in an Airbnb is right for your family vacation. 

Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018 – What Airbnb Users Should Know & Do!

Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018 The Japan New Housing Law stipulates that landowners (housing accommodation business operators), managers and brokerage site operators are required to register their rental properties with the national government and local governments. The revised law will go into effect nationwide on June 15th, 2018.

I am supportive of the licensing since it will assure all short-term rentals are safe. However, it is very clear that since the law is national but the licensing local there are many rule differences being put in place which is slowing down the application and registration process. If landowners, managers or brokerage site operators are not licensed on June 15th, 2018 the government is authorized to inspect properties for illegal public housing. The penalty is one million yen if found breaking the law.  Note: There is a government meeting set for May 21st, 2018 to determine how to crack down on illegal renting practices after June 15, 2018.  Based on discussions with active hosts and service agencies I believe that in Tokyo maybe only 5,000 of the present 20,000 active units will be licensed on June 15th, 2018! Over time more units will get licensed but the immediate delisting will be dramatic.

Some interesting Japan Tourism and Airbnb Data – Since I am a data geek

(source; Airdna, Hotels.com, Nikkei, Japan Time and other news sources) 
  • The Japanese Government is targeting 40 million visitors per year by 2020. In 2017, 28.7MM people visited up 19.3% YoY.  The Rugby World Cup taking place in the Autumn of 2019, and the Olympics and Paralympics in 2020 will raise the numbers.
  • In Tokyo, there are 120,000 registered hotel rooms; 120,000 X 365 = 43,800,000 hotel room nights per year. Hotel rooms are predicted to increase up to 15% more over the next three years with new construction and converted office buildings and apartments to hotels. Despite the increase, the occupancy will be extremely high in popular seasons.
  • The average 3-star hotel in Tokyo costs 12,500 yen and accommodates average 2 people, the average 4-star hotel in Tokyo costs 24,000 yen an accommodates avg 2 people. For a family of 4-5 to rent two hotel rooms in Tokyo typically costs 25,000 yen on average.
  • In May 2015 there were approximately 3,000 Airbnb listings in Tokyo; as of April 2018 that number has increased to approximately 20,000.  The central Tokyo five star Airbnb for avg 2 people is 11,500 yen and typically include cooking and laundry facilities.  The average 2 bedrooms, five-person capacity Airbnb in central Tokyo (Shinjuku, Shibuya, Minato-ku`s) runs on average 17,000 JPY.
  • In Tokyo, as of April 2017, there were approximately 20,000 Airbnb units active in Tokyo and according to Airdna.com on avg the per night rate is about 11,000 yen and the occupancy rate is 90%. The top four areas of Tokyo by active Airbnb unit (#) are 1. Shinjuku-ku (4,800), 2. Shibuya-ku (2,400), Taito-ku (2,000),  3. Toshima-ku (1,500) and 4. Minato-ku (1,300).
  • On May 11th, 2018 a tourism agency official stated at a news conference that only 724 applications for short-term rentals have been submitted nationwide.  That is an update from April 13, 2018, when the stated number was 232 cases.

What will happen on June 15th, 2018 on Airbnb in Japan?

All hosts know right now is that all Japan Airbnb listing without a license will be delisted (people can no longer place reservations) on June 15th, 2018.  However, what happens to reservations that already reserved for dates after June 15th? Actually, Airbnb has not communicated to Airbnb hosts what will happen to reservations that have been taken past June 15th, 2018. Some optimistic hosts believe they will still be able to host existing reservations, despite not being able to take new reservations.  However, this would be breaking the law. What will Airbnb actually do to existing reservations after June 15, 2018? Your guess is as good as the next person. All I can advise is BE PREPARED WITH A BACKUP PLAN!

What Japan Airbnb guests should prepare for? 

I am recommending to people who have reserved a short-term rental unit after June 15th to have a backup plan. I HIGHLY recommend you reserve a hotel room with a good cancellation policy. You will be able to see on June 15th if the Airbnb unit you reserved is licensed or not by it being visible on the Airbnb site and have a registered license number in the “about this room section of the listing”.  Unfortunately, there is no way to filter Airbnb listings which have a registered license.

Many folks are asking Airbnb hosts “are you licensed or will you be licensed “?  As of May 11th, probably less than 2% of Japan Airbnb units have been licensed. Many hosts are submitting the necessary documents to the government to get licensed but the processing time is about two weeks so many hosts have no idea if they will get a license by June 15th, 2018. Again a reason to have a backup hotel room.

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Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018 – What Japan Japan Airbnb Rule Change June 15, 2018Airbnb Users Should Know & Do!

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5 comments

  1. Many Airbnb guests coming to Japan do so on low budget airfares which don’t allow cancellations or changes. The upshot is we’ll see many backpackers winging it on the streets and staying in love hotels, manga cafes, or sidewalk camping after getting their accommodations cancelled As an owner and multi-listing host I’m really appalled at the lack of preparation or understanding Airbnb has shown. They’re doing nothing to mitigate this ensuing mess. Since getting my registrations completed I’ve doubled my rates to cover costs and ensure continued profitability. I now worry if Airbnb will remain a viable platform moving forward as this impending mess will obviously degrade trust in their brand.

    • Glen in Portland

      I found this website when doing a search on this Airbnb licensing issue in Tokyo. We booked a listing before June 15 not knowing anything about the listing regulations. After June 15, Airbnb did send us an email letting us know about the whole mess and that we should book a new listing. I won’t go into the all the refund and credit issuance mess we encountered with Airbnb. Needless to say, I have lost confidence in Airbnb. One thing we are concerned about even though we have a legal booking that has already been paid for, is that the host on our listing seems to be a different person depending on which week you book the listing. What’s up with that? Has there been any word of mouth or stories about fake “legal” listings or a business that offers multiple listings and employs people to be their hosts? We just don’t want to be stranded on the sidewalk in Roppongi. If you can offer any insight, please do.

      • Hi Glen, Changing the name of the host may make sense since to get the license some people had to change registered entity. But but the host changing more than once is very suspicious. There have been rumours of some hosts putting in fake registration numbers, however, I have not actually heard about this happening to anyone I know. Have you called Airbnb to ask? lauren

  2. Is your Airbnb licensed and available to rent now? I would like to refer some friends who are coming to Tokyo.

    • Yes, we have two airbnb units that are licensed. Here are the links.

      unit #102 has two bedrooms (one queen and two twins that can be converted to a king). https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/16920657

      unit #103 has two bedrooms (one king size bed and one queen size)https://airbnb.com/rooms/5255533

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